SHIPROCK — The Shiprock girls basketball team continues to cruise through the regular season.
The Lady Chieftains dominated from the opening tip on their way to a 66-34 victory against Thoreau on Thursday night at the Chieftain Pit.
Shiprock (23-0, 4-0 District 1-3A) opened up a 15-4 lead after the first quarter of play and led by double digits for the remainder of the contest.
The Lady Chieftain defense harassed the Lady Hawks (14-8, 2-2) all game, forcing 34 turnovers and limiting Thoreau to 24 percent shooting (15-of-63) from the field.
The bench played well for Shiprock, accounting for 46 of the Lady Chiefs' points led by Lacey Howe's game-high 12.
"I'm just thinking about the way we're performing, and it's nice to be balanced," Shiprock head coach Larenson Henderson said. "Our first five didn't do very well tonight, but our second and third unit came in and played well. We've seen their development from JV and C team players, and they've made their way up. That's the progress we want."
Ten of the 12 Lady Chiefs who played in the game found their way into the score book.
Ashley John and Tanisha Begay added 11 apiece for the Lady Chiefs in the victory.
Despite the easy victory, Henderson still sees room for his team to improve, notably in turnovers and in rebounding, where Thoreau was able to earn a plethora of second chance opportunities.
The Lady Chiefs gave the ball away 24 times in the win.
"We keep repeating ourselves in practice about rebounding," Henderson said. "The girls know they can do it."
Tia Tolth scored 10 points to lead Thoreau in the loss.
With Thoreau, Bloomfield and Wingate all having at least two losses in district play, the victory essentially wraps up the regular season District 1-3A title for Shiprock. Barring a pair of blowout losses in their final two games, the Lady Chiefs will host the district tournament title game.
Heading into the final two games of the regular season against Bloomfield and Wingate, Henderson is looking for his squad to be more efficient with their open looks from 3-point range. Shiprock hit 48 percent (31-of-65) from the field, but struggled from beyond the arc, making just 3-of-19, despite most of the shots being wide open.
"We've got to make shots," he said. "We've been practicing, but I don't understand why we're still missing them. I'm trying to figure out a way to hit shots and cut down on the turnovers."
Shiprock finishes the regular season next week with a home game against Bloomfield on Thursday and then travels to Wingate on Feb. 22.
Wingate 71, Bloomfield 43
After a tight first half, Wingate (11-13, 2-2 District 1-3A) pulled away in the second half for a 28-point victory against Bloomfield (4-20, 0-4) on Thursday.
"Everything they threw up just seemed to go in," Bloomfield head coach Tom Adair said.
The Lady Bobcats opened the game with a 7-0 lead and trailed the Lady Bears by just seven points heading into halftime before Wingate was able to gain control in the second half.
Jasmine Sappington led Bloomfield with 14 points and 17 rebounds in the loss.
Bloomfield will be off until Thursday when the team travels to Shiprock.Joshua Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4577. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.